Thursday, August 27, 2009


on friday august 28 it would be super happy fun land where COP WARMTH, SOMOSUNO, THE DELTA BLOCK, RAPEWORM will all be playing.

-sharpe james

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009


scene: at home in the 423 gallery, listening to the JAWBOX album for your own special sweetheart, while on the television set, the BEYONCE video for single ladies plays on mute.

jen: i feel like we're at a punk rock burlesque show.

i say nothing because there is nothing to be said.

-rich kimball



neon indian 'should have taken acid with you'

not really sure exactly what is up with neon indian. apparently they are a duo and they may be from austin and/or brooklyn (that is what their myspace says) though some say they are from houston. it doesn't really matter. this is just a really great track. they also have a song called 'deadbeat summer' which is really good as well but just not as summery as 'should have taken acid with you' despite its name.

the song reminds me of a story told by a friend of mine. this guy (said storyteller) used to take a lot of drugs. i mean tons of drugs. while living in new orleans he was dared to lick an entire page of acid tabs. and he did. he said it really didn't effect him much until one day he was walking down the street and he felt something weird in his head. like something inside had been switched off. he looked at a newspaper and realized he didn't remember anything for the last 6 months, since the day he licked the page of acid tabs.

-sharpe james


Saturday, August 15, 2009


@ mangos houston tx 8-14-09

it has been said this has been the hottest summer south texas has ever seen and this was another hot night. my usual parking space was taken so i had to find another spot. i went to half-priced books and bought a copy of jack kerouac's long lost and recently issued wake up: a life of the buddha which includes an introduction by preeminent religious scholar robert a.f. thurman who is the father of the actress uma thurman. this relates to the 423 gallery as jen FSKD went to boarding school in massachusetts with uma. also, professor thurman's wife is judith thurman who writes fashion articles for the new yorker. the 423 gallery/FISKADORO prides itself on being fashion forward.

i walked over to mangos and officially met bobby from //TENSE//, a band that has been captivating our living/working space in the past couple weeks. also spent some time with jon read from THE WIGGINS who were originally scheduled to play this show until he broke his arm. i hope he gets better soon since i was really looking forward to seeing him perform.

HOW I QUIT CRACK opened the proceedings with a short, woozy, epic (yes short and epic can go together if the performance is that good) and utterly mesmerizing set. tina kneeled on the stage, sang, played a korg synth, used a guitar for feedback and a drum machine played simple beats that stayed out of the way. it was really interesting watching the audience gather around as well, it was as if tina was leading a chorus of delay pedals that drew everyone to her. it was like she was playing sigils or something. the chaos is the magick. i spoke to her afterwards and apparently she's doing a lot of recording lately (check her youtube account for evidence of this - you won't be sorry). the 423 gallery looks forward to a record from her soon.

after HIQC performed, i spent time with phil of A THOUSAND CRANES talking about australia and being shocked at his unfamiliarity with legendary australian punk bands CELIBATE RIFLES & THE SAINTS. i'll need to correct that for him one of these days (note to self). as we were talking the next band - COP WARMTH - were setting up/tuning up off of the stage and on the dance floor and we kept moving back and back.. as they were setting up they kept playing (and we marveled at the number of guitar pedals they had. kevin shields would be envious) and making all sorts of noise and walking back and forth and around marking their territory.. finally they were all set up and as the drummer kicked into their first song the rest of the band went flying into the drum kit knocking it all over the floor - the drummer chased drums and hit everything in sight - people held the drums for him and this san diego gravity records style hardcore raged for the length of the set finally ending in a long section of bass feedback and more pounding on scattered broken drums... i heard someone wonder if they buy a new drum kit for each show. the music was raw and uncompromising and i enjoyed it immensely.

next up was the mighty //TENSE// filling in for THE WIGGINS. we've been obsessing over //TENSE// lately and they did not disappoint. they took back the stage and turned it into a dance party for the last days until the end of the world. the wax traxisms seemed more apparent now that i know the songs well but they are no mere copyists either. they have their own thing going and seem to be living in their own world (and you can say the same for HOW I QUIT CRACK) which is so important if you're going to be doing art. there is that old gospel song that washington dc's BEEFEATER covered on their house burning down album that goes "i'm going to live the life that i'm singing about in my song". this really seems to apply in the songs/presentations of //TENSE// & HOW I QUIT CRACK. this is the place every artist needs to be if they take their art seriously. this is what is meant by 'not selling out'. this is punk rock.

the last band was a trio from austin called MUTATING MELTDOWN. they consisted of a boy keyboard player, and girls on bass & drums. they played a innocent sort of new wave that would fit in well on k records (back when i lived in nj we referred to this as puppycore). they were really good and had an awesome stage presence. what was most fascinating about them is their tour schedule. they played thursday in mexico, friday in houston, tomorrow in little rock arkansas and sunday in iowa city ia before continuing on in minnesota and wisconsin.. it sounds like quite the adventure.

hey jon - get well soon!

-rich kimball

Friday, August 14, 2009


@ rudyards houston tx 8-13-09

we last witnessed DEAD ROSES a couple months back at their 7" record release show at rudyards. since then, DEAD ROSES side project AFTER PARTY has toured in an el camino and it seems DEAD ROSES has switched drummers, replacing matt with shane. while the show a couple months back was the best performance i've seen from anybody in years, this wasn't as life changing but will probably go down in houston annals as the most memorable show we will see in a long time.

DEAD ROSES rocked the house in their manner, but it was the moment when bronwyn wailed on ralf, knocking the tuning pegs on his bass and banging them off of his left eyebrow, leaving him dripping blood like a glam punk chuck wepner. it was the moment that changed this from a nice performance into a punk rock epic.

blood pouring down his face ralf took over the show never stopping to even wipe it away. "i'm crying tears of blood" he said and the set raged on, beautifully illustrating the tragedy that is DEAD ROSES. an uplifting bloody mess. glorious!

-sharpe james


//TENSE// will be pinch-hitting for an injured THE WIGGINS tonight at mangos. spread the word.

-sharpe james

Thursday, August 13, 2009


the weekend starts tonight with DEAD ROSES & THUNDERBOLT SUIT at rudyards.
tomorrow we have THE WIGGINS, HOW I QUIT CRACK & MUTATING MELTDOWN at mango's.
saturday is A THOUSAND CRANES, ANARCHITEX, ROOM 101, POLICE STATE AMERICA & THE DELTA BLOCK at super happy fun land (benefit show for sedition books).

-sharpe james

Monday, August 10, 2009


interview with A THOUSAND CRANES by rich kimball

A THOUSAND CRANES are a band that we at the 423 gallery have been raving about for a couple months now. we recently asked travis kerschen of ATC 10 questions.

what is sacred music?

It uses the music as a vessel for communion with what is held sacred by the artist. The musician tries to make good music, but pays equal attention to trying to attain a sacred state within or externally. I am inspired by Vajrayana (from Tibetan Buddhism) and so I try to put myself in a meditative state while writing and performing the music, and the context of the music is on a sacred theme from that belief system (lovingkindness, interdependence, compassion, equanimity, peace, impermanence, etc.). What is sacred can be defined as what is held as an ideal state of humanness or worldness by an individual.

who/what/where does A THOUSAND CRANES find common ground?

A Thousand Cranes finds common ground in desire to use music to transcend, in noise/experimental music, in improvisation, in creative expression. We find common ground in conscientious living, music, arts of all forms, Houston, TX.

how does A THOUSAND CRANES succeed?

A Thousand Cranes succeeds by keeping up with the path we choose both in artistic creation and in every day life.

where does A THOUSAND CRANES fail?

We fail when we fall into the "ego" trap, and become concerned about our reputation or popularity or turn out at a show.

how has the houston music scene evolved over the years, and where is it at now?

It has evolved very nicely, thank you very much. From sharecropper blues to third ward blues to folk to tejano to rock and roll and psychedelic rock to funk and disco to punk to noise and experimental to rap and r&b. All these musical forms keep evolving, and the artists share a cultural background and musical lineage.

how does meditation factor into the music of A THOUSAND CRANES?

Many of the songs are created as meditations and when they are performed I try to put myself in a meditative state. The meditative state can sometimes be deep and trancelike, and sometimes it isn't. The meditations are generally buddhist themed.

who/what influenced you to make music?

Specifically, my family influenced me to make music. My family is very creative and expressive. As for bands or artists that have influenced me to make music, which haven't? And the artists/genres who influenced A Thousand Cranes, include Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Soweto music, Ali Farka Touré and Boubacar Traoré, Yoko Ono, Indian Jewelry, Mexican and Latin folk music (huasteca, huapango, huarache, son veracruzano, etc,) African music, South Asian folk music, reggae, Swarm of Angels, Philip Glass, John Cage, Rusted Shut, A Pink Cloud, hip hop, jazz, free jazz

tell us about your song 'wounded crane'?

"Wounded Crane" is a compassionate embrace of our dark side, our ugly side, our feared side, our fearful side. It is an acceptance of what it means to be completely human.

describe houston to someone who has never been to texas?

Houston is a subtropical humid city. It is large. It was built on marshes and bayous full of alligators, pumas, and all sorts of wildlife. It is the fourth largest city in the United States. We have the Houston Rockets.

describe america - on its present course- in 5 years time?

The powerful forces of capitalism and industrialization have been destroying the collective sensitivity to others in America for a long time. We appear to be approximating a third world country with the disparity between the wealthy and the poor. Our endless wars and imposed fixation on terror and security is pushing us into cultural neurosis and paralysis. On the positive side, it is destroying itself like all empires do. And with it's death it is possible for a healthier society to emerge. In 5 years America will see more bicyclists and people recycling more because of economic necessity. Middle class people will be more conscientious about what they are spending their money on.

A THOUSAND CRANES will be performing at a benefit for sedition books on saturday august 15th @ super happy fun land in houston. for more information visit the ATC myspace:


the mysterious ambient noise of m-laab is finally in the building.

what will the public think?

-sharpe james

Saturday, August 8, 2009


@ notsuoh houston tx 8-6-09

a hot texas evening began with a video projection of dancing cranes and recordings of A THOUSAND CRANES soundtracking the piece. the images were washed out and mesmerizing. and occasionally playful or threatening. the same video then played while the bands played later in the night, adding an appropriate apocalyptic edge (given the respective histories of the names of the 2 bands) to the proceedings.

423 gallery house band FISKADORO took the stage and performed a sloppy but very well received 6 song set of synth informed dance punk. there was much dancing in the crowd and afterwards many kind words were given to the duo - some of the show goers found them reminiscent of the human league. and considering the band covered the human league song seconds this seemed appropriate. the bartenders said they sucked. you just can't please everyone.

A THOUSAND CRANES followed up FSKD with an incredible set of their sacred music. this had quite a different feel than the show a couple weeks ago at mango's. i really can't place why - but the mood was shifted in some way. it was just as awesome and inspiring but in another way that i cannot even articulate. jen kimball of FSKD suggested the music of ATC to be like trance music but only with the opposite effect. it was an inclusive, galvanizing performance that suggested a future of beauty and peace. ATC guitar player phil deserves a special mention for his tasteful use of guitar feedback which adds so much to the presentation.

after seeing A THOUSAND CRANES a couple of times in the past couple of weeks we wonder why the local media doesn't talk more about this band. i guess that is why this blog exists, to fix things that are being overlooked.

-sharpe james